Your Perfect New England Road Trip Itinerary: Plan a Road Trip From Boston

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Start with a road trip from Boston. Mix lighthouses, whaling ports and clam chowder with the origins of modern America with this New England road trip itinerary. By the end, America may seem older but you’ll feel younger. Here’s how to make it happen.

The Perfect New England Road Trip From boston

New England Road Trip Itinerary Map

Drive Massachusetts Map of Boston Road Trips

A Two Week New England Road Trip Itinerary

This New England road trip itinerary follows our well-researched plans. We spent two weeks driving around Massachusetts, spending a few days in Boston and then looping through three key areas: Salem and Cape Ann to the north of Boston, historic Plymouth, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket to the south and then inland to endless tree-lined roads in the Berkshires.

Separate stories of the people we met and the stories we uncovered will come elsewhere on the lab (see the USA section here), along with poetry, whimsy and the story of the invention of the first ever fried clams.

Whether you’re at the dreaming, planning or booking side of things, I present you with a nuts and bolts New England road trip itinerary to help you plan your perfect road trip from Boston.

From Massachusetts to Manhattan and Brooklyn

Another great idea is to extend your Massachusetts road trip into New York State. Brooklyn is one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world and intriguingly diverse: over 60 languages spoken in the area.

It’s also known for being an artistic hub, and a great alternative place to stay to cross the bridge and explore Manhattan. Here’s a lovely example of a boutique hotel in Brooklyn to add to your road trip plans.

Road Trip from Boston, Abigail King in front of the USA flag
Taking in the scenery

Boston: Days 1-3

Spend a few days in Boston recovering from jet lag and enjoying this historic, thriving, curious, famous city often overshadowed by nearby Manhattan.

Road trip from Boston - Salem House
The flag flies in front of Salem House

Salem and Cape Ann: Days 3-5


The first stop on this New England road trip itinerary has history and white picket fences written all over it.

Salem’s most famous role was as the heart of the infamous Witch Trials of 1692, brought to 20th century audiences (and schoolrooms) through Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and a subsequent performance by Winona Ryder.

The first part of the Salem Witch Museum explores story of the original trial. But even more interesting than that is the second section. Here, the conversation moves to the idea of a “witch hunt” and the process through which society mistrusts and demonises “outsiders.”

Travel Tip

The Salem Witch Museum really isn’t suitable for children under 8. It’s dark with screaming, animated, figures and a human-size devil, so it’s the one thing I’d recommend families take in turns or skip.

Driving Cape Ann Massachusetts
Exploring Cape Ann

Cape Ann

Cape Ann is a gorgeously rural, windswept place with pebbly-sand beaches that lift the soul at dawn. What’s even better? You won’t find many tourists here, at least not from outside America.

As a result, a visit to Cape Ann is all about taking in nature and local customs and really slowing down.

Travel Tip

As so many events are weather dependent (and you rarely need to book) I’d advise you look at a map and mix and match from the following. You should be able to fit everything in within a couple of days.

Watch Sunset at Pigeon Cove

This gorgeous spot has been entertaining guests since the 1850s when William Norwood set up a tavern carriage traders. In its time, it attracted literary greats like Ralph Waldo Emerson (“Trust thyself”) and Henry David Thoreau so you can feel englightened as you dine (toddler included.)

Appleton Farms Cape Ann Massachusetts
Appleton Farms in Cape Ann, Massachusetts

Spend the Day at Appleton Farms

Nine generations of Appletons have worked on Appleton farm, amid crumbling stone walls and one of the earliest American dreams. That makes it one of the oldest continuously operating farms in America.

Today, it’s part of the Trustees for Reservations Group (a kind of American National Trust.) Overall, Appleton aims to bring the wholesome, heritage parts of farming to city slickers and those who want to get involved.

It spreads over 1000 glorious acres of rolling grasslands and maple trees, like scenes from Jed Bartlet in New Hampshire in the West Wing. But it’s not just pretty for the tourists.

It’s a working farm and you can visit livestock, hike for hours or visit the historic farmhouse.

Catch the afternoon milking of the Jersey cows at 4:00, say hello to the chickens, goats and sheep at any time. And if you’re lucky, catch a cheese-making demonstration at the creamery.

Road Trip from Boston - Manchester on Sea Cape Ann Massachusetts
Did you know Boston was home to some of the prettiest beaches in the United States?

Visit the Singing Beach

Manchester’s Singing Beach has a poetic name for a poetic place. The sea may not actually sing (it’s more like a whistle) but its sense of peace was one of the highlights of this New England road trip itinerary.

Go for Dinner or Cocktails at the 1606 Restaurant, the Beauport Hotel

Join the much-feted East Coast Elite in the glory days of shipping by dining at 1606 Restaurant at the Beauport Hotel. The restaurant overlooks the sea, with a luxurious nautical theme of polished wood, white walls and knotted rope. Seduced by the gentle live music, it’s easy to believe that you too could run for office one day…

Visit the Birthplace of Fried Clams

At the other end of the spectrum is Woodman’s of Essex, the self-proclaimed “home of the fried clam.”

It’s a lovely story told by lovely people. In 1916, Lawrence “Chubby” Woodman, at the suggestion (near dare?) of a friend, decided to fry some clams ahead of the national July 4th celebrations. Five generations and over 100 years later, the clam shack is still going strong, and the legacy of the fried clam has spread across New England.

Here, you grab a seat with friends and tuck in to a range of fried fare, including the state’s iconic clambake and the fresh lobster for which New England is so well known.

Road trip from Boston - Cape Ann Victoria Inn-1
Staying at the Cape Ann Victoria Inn was a highlight of the trip

Where to Stay in Cape Ann

We stayed at the Castle Manor Inn, a lovingly restored Victorian Inn just made for flowery dresses and Instagram. It’s situated inland, with soothing green gardens and that mix of grandeur and homeliness that buildings of that era exude.

While atmospheric, it’s probably not the best choice for young children as there’s no crib or soundproofing. But, if you’re travelling as a couple, it’s romantic, and if solo, a good place to chat over breakfast on the narrow terrace. And the staff couldn’t be friendlier.

Plymouth, Cape Cod and the Islands: Days 5-11

Now it’s time to visit all those places you’ve heard about in half-whispered dreams, novels, schoolrooms, history books and anything that probes into the life of J.F.K. Plymouth, Cape Cod and the islands.

Plymouth is where America began. Kinda.

It is where the pilgrims settled (they landed at Provincetown), and it remains the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States founded by Europeans. Others may have got there first, but this was the only one to last.

Its history is fascinating and complex; its layout restfully small. It’s a walkable, beautiful grid of artsy coffee shops, bobbing boats and impressive, historic brick buildings.

But before you get there, allow your New England road trip itinerary to stop off at World’s End in Hingham and the cranberry bogs along the way.

Worm's End Massachusetts
Exploring World’s End

World’s End

This unexpected wilderness between Boston and Plymouth offers a chance to get back in touch with nature and see views that haven’t changed for centuries.

Managed by the Trustees (the same ones who manage the Appleton farms), World’s End involves over 250 acres of tree-lined avenues, rocky shores, steep hills and wild grass.

Look one way to see Boston, its skyline painted in faint, pastel colours. Look the other to see a Nordic fishing village which turns out to be the New England coastline.While the buildings of New England may be old in US terms, this place is even older.

Linked to the retreat of the same glacier that led to Boston Harbor, the salt marshes and spoon shaped hills (or drumlins) look the same now as they did thousands and thousands of years ago.

The Trustees hold concerts here on a summer’s day, but, even if grey clouds roll in, a stride between the granite ledges, red cedars and blueberry thickets make the perfect exercise break on a road trip from Boston.

Cranberry Bogs - Classic Massachusetts
The Cranberry Bogs are a must visit…seriously!

The Cranberry Bogs

Yes, when I heard about cranberry bogs I wasn’t that impressed.

Yes, when I saw a photo, I completely changed my mind.

Cranberries are big business in New England, with U.S. Farmers harvesting approximately 40,000 acres of cranberries each year. What makes this farming industry so much more interesting than the rest are the shimmer of the cranberry bogs come harvest time.

Full of bright red berries as far as the eye can see, farmers flood the bogs with enough water to cover the vines that carry the berries. They then use water reels to knock the fruit off and collect them with conveyors or pumps.

Alas, for international visitors, the season is short, running from approximately mid-September to early-November each year.

We stopped off at Mayflower Cranberries LLC (call ahead if you wish to do the same) in Plympton, Massachusetts to speak to owner Jeff LaFleur.

An amiable, passionate man, LaFleur has taken cranberry farming to the next level. His 112-acre farm  has 236 acres of active cranberry bogs and he’s also a grower-owner for Ocean Spray Cranberries. As an aside, I had assumed that this was a big, faceless, awful corporation before this visit, but it’s actually a pretty decent co-op that benefits small farms and keeps them in trade. Jeff is a fan!

Plymouth Massachusetts Plymouth Rock
The iconic Plymouth Rock


In Plymouth, you can indulge in as much or as little history as you like. Unless you’re particularly keen, though, one full day is probably enough. Spend the day from Boston to Plymouth stopping off at World’s End and the cranberries, and then give yourself one full day in Plymouth itself before driving on to the Cape.

The Plimouth Plantation is a little way out of town, but everything else is easily walkable, and it’s really the best way to get a taste of the place.

Plymouth Rock is New England’s most visited rock (drawing in more than 1million visitors each year).

This historical landmark signifies the place where the Mayflower pilgrims began Plymouth Colony, which is essentially the first permanent European settlement in New England.

You’ll find Plymouth Rock in the peaceful Pilgrim Memorial State Park on the shore of Plymouth Harbor.

Wampanoag Settlement Plimouth Plantation
The Wampanoag Settlement Plimouth Plantation

The Plimouth Plantation

The open-air museum that is the Plimouth Plantation really turns the traditional idea of the American thanksgiving around.

Two villages co-exist:

  • the Wampanoag settlement with trailing smoke, simmering cauldrons, feathers, paints and spears.
  • the pilgrim settlement, where actors have British accents and talk about their journey from Leiden in Holland where they were granted asylum before they left ”to find the new world.”

A Tale of Two Sides

From a fraught narrative, the Plantation showcases both sides of the American story without passing judgement. Leave at least a full afternoon to really make the most of it.

Where to Eat in Plymouth

  • Kiskadee Coffee Company – for local art, simple snacks and, well, good coffee.
  • The Water Street Café – head to this diner for an all American breakfast you’ll never forget. Order crunchy French toast and consume more calories in one sitting than you even do at Christmas. Guilty. Delicious. Fun.
  • Dillon’s Local – we enjoyed this so much, we went back twice. ;-)  Cosy, yet hipster eatery with classics like New England clam chowder and more modern arugula grilled peach salad.

Where to Stay in Plymouth

We stayed at the John Carver Inn & Spa, right within walking distance of town.

It’s a curious spot, with a mix of themes and styles, but rooms are spacious and well stocked. There’s a fantastically outrageous swimming pool with a full size replica of the Mayflower (with a bit of artistic license!).

After you check out, it’s time to grab your swimwear and prepare to head to the Cape…

Road Trip from Boston - 4Martha's Vineyard Massachusetts-1
Beach life

Cape Cod and the Islands

This is the section of a Boston road trip that takes the most planning before you go.

But, oh my, is it worth it.

There is a spirit around the Cape that is simply unique. The curling tip of land that tickles history, the roar of the waves and the sharks that circle around. The taste of the air and the stick of the salt and the sense that adventure and the open world wait just around the corner.

And truthfully? We should have planned a little better and given ourselves more time. Not because there are so many things to do (there aren’t really), but because this is a place to slow down and not really think about things to do.

Fitting the Pieces Together For Cape Cod and the Islands

  • Station yourself in Hyannis, the hub of the Cape. While not the prettiest part, that’s a bit like saying Monet’s poppies aren’t as pretty as his waterlilies. It’s also close to the ferry port, making those connections far easier.
  • Don’t take your car to Nantucket.
  • I know I keep mentioning this,  but it’s important. Parking is tricky there and getting the car onto the ferry is even trickier.
  • I’ll write more about these areas separately, but for now, here’s the key information to help you plan your visit.
Road trip from Boston - Chatham
Red sky at night…cyclist’s delight?

Cape Cod

The Cape Cod National Seashore

Managed by the National Parks Service, the Cape Cod National Seashore area cuddles along the curve of the Cape, flanked only by majestic Atlantic pine, sand and the odd shark.

Arrive early as parking is limited and expensive so it makes sense to stop for a while.


Glossy, well-heeled Chatham is a delight to walk around in between its sassy book shops, art galleries and antique shops. At the “elbow” of Cape Cod, this is the point where Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean meet.

There’s easy access to a windswept sandy beach with a lighthouse that dates back to 1878. And if you’re in luck, you can catch the annual shark art festival:

Road trip from Boston - 28 Atlantic Cape Cod Massachusetts-1
A road trip is all about the food

Where to Eat in Cape Cod

Twenty-Eight Atlantic at Wequassett Resort – Fine dining with full views of the sea. Look out for the ash-roasted cod loin and Chatham shellfish company oysters.

The children’s menu also comes as a sail on a wooden boat and table lights come inside hollowed sea urchins.

Twenty-eight Atlantic enjoys the highest ratings on Cape Cod from Forbes, AAA, and Zagat and it’s easy to see why.

28 Atlantic Cape Cod Massachusetts
The lemon meringue pie of my dreams

Where to Stay in Hyannis

We stayed at the Anchor In, a convenient spot in Hyannis with spacious, light rooms, well-informed staff and a small outdoor pool with a view of the marina. A cosy “old New World” library serves breakfast and drinks through the day as well.

Road trip from Boston - Cape Cod Anchor In Hyannis
A dip in the pool is much needed after a long day of exploring

How to Get From Hyannis to Nantucket

We travelled with Hy-line cruises. The journey is short (136 minutes) but leave plenty of time to board and book your ticket in advance.

There’s a small café on board and an easy chance to walk around for toddlers.

Road trip from Boston - Nantucket Massachusetts-1
Old Nantucket


Oh, how I loved Nantucket. I Really, really loved the place.

This small island, only 30 miles across, seems to tell the story of human innovation and reinvention through a series of picturesque beaches, stylish place to stay and chic spots to eat.

Architecturally, little has changed from the 17th century whaling hey days, all wooden slatted town houses and white columned porches.

Once it was one of the wealthiest spots in the world, thanks to its whaling industry.

Road Trip from Boston - Abigail King in Nantucket
Can you tell by my smile how much I loved this place?

Today it welcomes tourists and grapples first hand with balancing the past, the future, sustainable tourism and identity. Nearly 40% of Nantucket is protected for conservation and the island is now a National Historic District to boot.

All of which sounds far too serious for what is, essentially, a gentrified beach resort. But that’s what makes it so interesting.

Visit the  Whaling Museum to uncover a striking, poignant, provocative and unapologetic look at the realities of the whaling industry and why it was so important to the world at that time.

Finding the Beach

Brant Point is a short and easy walk from Nantucket’s centre for an iconic lighthouse shot and scuff in the sand. Watch the ferries glide in and think back to the whaling past. Don’t try to swim, though. Currents here are far too strong.

The Children’s Beach is even closer to town with a playground and kids activities on in the summer.

For further beaches and exploration, hire a bike and cycle away!

Road trip from Boston - Smores Nantucket
DIY smores? Don’t mind if I do!

Where to Stay in Nantucket

We stayed at 76 Main Hotel. This gorgeous little bolthole forms part of a small local chain, called/run by Lark Hotels.

Stylish inside and out, rooms are small but deliciously designed.

There’s even a private firepit to help you embrace another Nantucket custom: melting marshmallows, biscuits and chocolate to build your own s’mores…

Road trip from Boston - Ferry to Martha's Vineyard-1
The ferry to Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard

After Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard seems enormous and urban. But of course, in reality she’s only 25 miles across with a population of around 17,000.

Her villages have different character, but you’ll find a key blend of summer holidays and New England in each.

You can catch the ferry from Hyannis but we drove from Hyannis and picked up the Steamship Authority ferry from Woods Hole to make the next part of the journey a little easier.

Arrive in good time to queue with your car but again, there’s a café and room to walk around when on board. And some spectacular views as you approach the island.

What to Do in Martha’s Vineyard

A trip to Martha’s Vineyard forms an essential part of any New England road trip itinerary. Here are the highlights:

  • Look out for Murdick’s Fudge
  • Visit Tuck & Holand Metal Sculptors at the Vineyard Haven Gallery to meet the man who makes weather vanes for the stars (Steven Spielberg has a velociprator made on this very island.)
  • Feel the salt in your lungs and the wind in your hair on Martha’s sandy beaches.
  • Pay a quick visit to the pastel-pretty gingerbread cottages in Oak Bluffs.
  • See the wealth of the whaling captains in Edgartown, Martha’s first colonial settlement, through their Greek revival mansions.
  • Give Mad Martha’s ice cream a good licking. With a fun name like that, you may as well try one.
Tuck & Holand Metal Sculptors at the Vineyard Haven Gallery

Where to Stay in Martha’s Vineyard

The Winnetu is the kind of place I’d love to stay at all week for one of those relax-and-forget-about-the-world holidays – with children.

It’s unusual in that it is designed with families in mind – and yet it still manages to be pleasing to the eye for adults!

Rooms have decent high chairs, cots and mini self-catering facilities but with a beautiful, New England design that appeals to adults.

Winnetu Resort Martha's Vineyard
A fabulous greeting!

The Dunes Restaurant introduced a new concept to me: adult dining with a children’s play area within the restaurant (if you don’t have kids, don’t fear, there is an adults-only section.)

The hotel’s outdoor pool is set in spacious grounds with a lifeguard and towel service and seemed surprisingly, blissfully empty for the most part. The great, green grounds led to the ocean at South Beach where it was too blustery for us to go in but seemed majestic in its beauty.

Road trip from Boston - Dr Seuss Museum Springfield Massachusetts-1
Inside the Dr Seuss Museum

From Martha’s Vineyard to the Berkshires and Around: Days 11-14

Get ready to welcome manicured, college campus America, with a side stop into the edgier Springfield, home to the Dr. Seuss Museum and the man himself. In fact, the key draw to this region (for me) was the “Iconic Illustrators Trail” – an intriguing journey through different areas of New England, each with amazing images.

From Martha’s Vineyard to Springfield

We took the ferry from Martha’s Vineyard to Woods Hole as it shortens the driving time as compared to a return ticket to Hyannis. Check which makes the most sense for you.

Springfield was a surprising stop on this New England road trip itinerary. It broke the classic “New England” style and probably deserved a little more exploration.

Local boy Dr. Seuss (real name Theodor Geisel,) grew up here amid the thriving inner-city medley of life with newly arrived immigrants from around the world. And The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum shows how that background developed into a world-famous career through personal artefacts, photographs and handwritten notes.

However, the real scene-stealer is the whimsical area downstairs, where characters like the Lorax greet you in life-size form. It is aimed at and perfect for children.

Road trip from Boston - Adolfo Springfield Restaurant-1
The Adolfo Springfeld Restaurant

Where to Stay in Springfield

We stayed at the Tower Square Hotel, a tall, slick city affair with a suite that had a separate kitchen that would have been a godsend if we’d still been weaning (it was still pretty good as we could have some family time after baby lab went to sleep in our room.)

There’s a pool with a sporty feel on one floor and an all-American breakfast available in the basement. Concierge parking and a 24-hour reception desk marked a return to city life after the blue-and-white laid-back feel of the islands.

Where to Eat in Springfield

Adolfo’s, just around the corner from the Tower Square Hotel, offers tasty, unpretentious Italian food with a local twist. Look out for the owner’s legacy on the walls…

Springfield to Amherst

What’s the reason to stop off in Amherst? Why, the Hungry Caterpillar Museum.

Of course, its real name is the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and it celebrates the work of illustrators across the world. The library arranges books by illustrator rather than author and there’s a huge room dedicated to getting arty and involved with crafts.

Local Flavours in Amherst

Just down the road is the Atkins Farms Country Market, a supermarket come delicatessen come restaurant that showcases the local farming produce. And it’s amazingly tasty.

Perfect for stocking up for picnics or dropping in for a bite to eat.

Road trip from Boston - Northampton
Travelling in style

From Amherst to Northampton

This short journey only takes 20 minutes. Check in and enjoy the evening. There’s more exploring to do tomorrow.

Where to Stay in Northampton

We stayed at The Hotel Northampton. Looking for a taste of American history? This is it.

Eleanor Roosevelt, Jenny Lind, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon all dined in the hotel’s restaurant, Wiggins Tavern, in Northampton.

Rooms are moderate sized and blissfully quiet, with cots on request and a breakfast to make Americans proud.

There’s also a fantastic toy shop across the street, with the loveliest staff. They found us lightweight building blocks that stick together without glue. Perfect for travelling. Just as an aside ;-)

Where to Eat in Northampton

Bistro Les Gras – It’s a gorgeous sunset walk through Northampton to reach Bistro Les Gras, where locals dine for special occasions (they came, they chatted, they told us.)

Amid low lights and American-French charm, try the wild gulf shrimp and lemon tart. If you have a wriggly toddler with you, it’s easy to pop out and visit the live music opposite.

Iconic Illustrators Road in Massachusetts
The Iconic Illustrators Road in Massachusetts

The Normal Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum tells not only the story of the world famous artist but also, in a way, the story of 20th century America as well.

Photos, paintings, and the painstakingly relocated office of the man himself offer an insight into an America that laid the foundation for the one of today.

Inside the Norman Rockwell Museum
Inside the Norman Rockwell Museum

Tanglewood & Lenox

Tanglewood is a place to get your music groove on, as long as there’s something on. The 210 acres of the Tanglewood estate were given to the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1936 by Mary Aspinwall Tappan and the result is half stately home gardens, half rock and roll concert venue.

Even if there’s not a concert going on, you can get in and look around.

Where to Eat Near Tanglewood

Lenox is another quintessential small New England town, with boutique art shops, white fences and cute places to eat.

Road trip from Boston - Historic Deerfield Massachusetts
The houses in Deerfield are truly spectacular

Tanglewood to Deerfield

The last stop before returning to the hubbub of either Boston or its international airport is the leafy, quiet village of Deerfield. Here, historic mansions rise into the sky with the trees in this 18th century village that simply froze in time.

Where to Stay in Deerfield

Book in advance to stay at the Deerfield Inn, right in the heart of the historic part of Deerfield. Guest rooms wear period florals, lamps and bedspreads and the dark wooden writing desks seem from another age.

Deerfield and Louisa May Alcott House
Deerfield and Louisa May Alcott House

Deerfield to Boston

And so, this rather epic Massachusetts road trip comes to an end.

But there’s one last stop en route to the airport: Louisa May Alcott’s house.

The author of the international bestseller published in 1868, lived here with her three sisters and parents on the outskirts of the small town of Concord.

It’s a heart-fluttering stop for literature but it also shines an interesting spotlight on society in New England at the time.

Road trip from Boston
On the road

How to Make It Happen

Driving is easy in Massachusetts, even if you’re used to driving on the left. Signs are clear, fuel is easily found and all the signs are in English.

America is a country built on transport, and the love of the automobile runs deep. It is more or less expected that you’ll drive everywhere and, as a result, parking is plentiful and cheap (and public transport tends to be sporadic and awkward.) It’s one of the reasons why this New England Road Trip itinerary works so well!

Explore Our Road Trip Planner & Toolkit

Designed for those who love to travel but who hate spreadsheets, our Road Trip Planner & Toolkit system shows you a bulletproof formula for getting organised in half the time. Plus, it includes the one innocent mistake that even seasoned travellers make.

The key exceptions to this are in Boston (a big, old city where walking and public transport will serve you best) and the island of Nantucket (where cars are virtually forbidden.)

Access to the beaches at Cape Cod also require hefty parking fees as the place is so popular and the villages so small.

By and large, though, Massachusetts, like so much of America, is built for a fly-drive holiday.

Where and When to Pick Up Your Car

Spend a few days in Boston, soaking up the accent, the red-brown leafy streets, the education and the arty brunches.

Then pick up your car either at the airport or at one of the centres in town. Unlike most cities, Boston Logan International is quick and easy to get to, so if you plan on flying straight out at the end of the trip, then it’s cheaper and easier to drop off at the airport and go.

Car Hire With Perks: Hertz Gold

We rented a car through Hertz. The booking and collection process was simple, but what makes the service even better is that they have an American Road Trip Planner. It makes drafting itineraries so much easier.

It’s perhaps not a great way of calming wanderlust, but it does mean that you can quickly plan another trip; an ideal way to beat the travel blues in my opinion

If you register with Hertz Gold Plus Rewards BEFORE you make your reservation you receive better deals, the chance to skip the queues and to use the Gold Plus Rewards counter. It’s free to register and only takes 60 seconds, so it’s worth doing.

What You Need to Plan in Advance

If you really have your heart set on something in particular then it makes sense to book it as soon as you can.

For me, though, most of the joy of travel involves a certain level of spontaneity and exploration, to follow where I want to go and (excuse the cheese) allow the essence of the place to appear at its own pace.

That said…in Massachusetts there are some things you really need to book in advance.

  • Ferries and accommodation on the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are often in short supply, with a fixed number of nights bookings and timetables that you need to stick to.
  • Leave your car behind as you head for Nantucket (leave plenty of time to find a parking space in Hyannis as it’s a bit of a scrum. Enterprising householders nearby charge a hefty fee to let you use their driveway.)
  • Boston can also book up quickly and so the sooner you can nail down your accommodation and car hire there, the better.

Lock these down first then work backwards from there.

Booking Flights to Boston

Our partner for this trip, Norwegian, has increased services to Boston with a daily non stop service between London Gatwick and Boston Airport. The flights are operated by a fleet of brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft with two cabins in premium and economy.

Fares start from £155 one way / £259 return in economy and £415 one way / £745 return in premium, including all taxes and charges.

To book visit www.norwegian.com/uk or call 0330 828 0854

Wifi On the Road

It would be optimistic and slightly romantic to think that mobile internet isn’t needed for a road trip. It’s near essential for navigation, for looking up nearby restaurants and opening times and great for contacting people back home.

Mobile internet can be expensive, though, not to mention a pain to set up if you have to get a SIM card at the airport.

We rented a mobile wifi device (aka a MiFi) on this trip. It’s really convenient for family trips because everyone can join a single device instead of replacing all your SIM cards. You also get to use your original phone number so you don’t have to worry about the logistics of checking two numbers or letting loved ones back home know.

Mobile Internet from Cellhire

Cellhire is a world leader in mobile communications, allowing travellers to stay connected all over the world. The USA MiFi is one of Cellhire’s most popular products. It’s well-loved for its instant data connectivity abroad, super-fast 4G speeds and its 5GB and 10GB bundles. The USA MiFi starts at as little as £50 a month.

Should I Travel to Massachusetts with Children?

Yes, a resounding, yes! People are friendly, polite, services work, healthcare is great and driving and parking is easy. This is America, after all. :)

However, while Florida and Louisiana seemed enthralled by our smallest travel companion, some (only some) areas we visited in Massachusetts seemed a little more reserved.

We were warmly welcomed at fine dining establishments, museums, on flights and in hotels but I’d just say that the difference between Massachusetts and the South was like the UK and the Med. Children are adored in the south, welcomed further north.

Adding More States To Your New England Road Trip Itinerary

This New England road trip itinerary focuses on Massachusetts, without apology. It’s aimed to maximise your time out exploring if you only have two weeks available, which is the standard setup for travellers from the UK.

More East Coast Road Trip Routes Along the New England States

However, there is so much more to New England than Massachusetts.  By definition, it includes six states rather than one, and so add the names Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island to your New England list.

Typically, autumn or fall is the time to make your way through these states, “leaf peeping” as you go. The colours are extraordinary, the maple syrup refreshingly sweet. There’s also winter sports and skiing in Vermont come winter and long hikes along the east coast for summer road trips. In my opinion, it’s better to take it slow and explore one area rather than trying to cram everything in. But to give you a few more ideas, here are some other New England road trips that explore the other states.

More New England Road Trip Itineraries

Keen to travel further afield but unsure where to go? Check out our guide to choosing between Los Angeles and Miami.

Beyond the East Coast: Other American Road Trip Itineraries

New Orleans, Louisiana

Let the good times roll with this fascinating and fun road trip from New Orleans. Explore the less well known parts of Louisiana and learn more about America.

Florida, West Coast Itinerary

Flit from the beach to sweeping cool art museums with this Florida west coast road trip itinerary. Discover sleepy villages and a world away from the resorts.

The Great River Road, Louisiana

Explore the grandeur and the horror of plantation life with this road trip itinerary along the Great River Road in Louisiana. Then cool off amid the marshmallow in one of New Orleans’ best swamp tours.

Plus, check out how to plan your San Francisco to Santa Barbara road trip here.

Road Trip Planning Tools and Essentials

We love, love, love a good road trip here on Inside the Travel Lab and have driven solo, as a couple, a family and with friends all over the world. It’s such a great way to get off the beaten track and to feel the sense of freedom and exploration if only for a short while.

That’s why we’ve put together a series of tools and resources to help you plan your New England road trip.

For starters, don’t miss the 53 Road Trip Essentials checklist that covers what you need to pack. Then, sign up for our free road trip training sessions, a series of three videos to help you avoid the mistakes that I’ve made.

Last, but by no means least, check out our Road Trip Planner & Toolkit. It’s a revolutionary way to organise and plan out your road trip, without spreadsheets, lost scraps of paper, headaches and overwhelm. You can check that out here.

Anything else I can help you with? Just let me know!

Disclosure – This trip was made up of some self-funded aspects and a mixture of paid/unpaid partnerships with Hertz, Visit Massachusetts, Norwegian, and Cellhire. As ever, all opinions remain my own. Otherwise, what is the point?!

If you book or buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Cheers!

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